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Chinese grape wine


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I like a nice glass of wine, especially on a Friday night after work. I had a look at some bottles available in my local area, and found the imported wine section to be sickly and overpriced. Basically, bottles of Blue Nun going for around the equivalent of $20. I have no intention of swearing off wine, so I'm considering purchasing something local - there seems to be a large selection of domestic, European-style wines available, but I have no idea how to guess what might be drinkable or not. I think most of the local product is red - I generally prefer lighter red wines such as a pinot noir. What sort of bottles, if any, should I be considering?

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Ha! By coincidence a friend of mine - who used to be BJ manager for Torres China, one of the biggest importers around,has moved to Suzhou as well!

I'm a wine consultant here in China and having written a lot about Chinese wines know a bit whereof I speak. I helped organize a tasting of Chinese wines last year to find some good ones and I'm due in Shandong later this month to judge a Chinese wine competition. But to be honest: DON'T buy Chinese own wines...

(exception: Changyu make a 1.5L sparking cider which is quite fun though a bit plastically).

The only drinkable PN I've had from China is from Mogao winery - but it will be impossible to source in Suzhou. And the good Chinese wines (Grace, Silver Heights) that I have had are as expensive as imported wines.

My advice as someone who writes many, many articles about this is to sign up to a service like Yangjiu.com who offer China-wide delivery and some nice wines (even at cheaper prices). To confess, the latter is run by someone that I know who used to work for one of the importers here - he's a nice guy and providing a good service.

Another is to take a quick trip to Shanghai for a bit of wine shopping - I can heartily recommend a few wine shops there. Actually, they can deliver to Suzhou too! There's a brilliant place called Ruby Red which is located in a Bomb shelter - really fun! And Globus have a beautiful series of shops.

The big companies ASC, Summergate, Torres can all deliver to your house as well. Delivery is GREAT in China - Everyone delivers :-)

[warning: self-promo!] If you check out our website, every month we publish at least 5 recommendations for wines available in China and how to buy them - both in our blog and in our magazine articles. And if you need any help, just PM me!

I would NOT ever buy wine from Walmart though....

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I would NOT ever buy wine from Walmart though....

I wasn't that tempted, except for cooking wine! Thanks for this informative reply. I'll be in Shanghai in October, and I'll definitely check out your recommendations. I'll set up some delivery then. I'm not a serious wine drinker - I don't have a cellar or anything - but when I drink wine, I like to have a decent bottle.

There is a certain charm in some Asian wine - when I lived in Vietnam, we used to enjoy a bottle of Vang Da Lat when we had a nice Vietnamese meal. I'd never consider it in the same league as European wine, but it did complement the meal, which, at the end of the day is the goal, I suppose. By the same token, when I visited Beijing, oh-so-briefly a couple of years ago, we went for duck - of course! (Not at Quanjude :biggrin:) We had a local bottle then, too. I can't recall the name, but it was quite light, with a cherry taste that kind of reminded me of Beaujolais. It went well with the duck, and I was quite happy with it.

Do you think domestic wine pairs better with Chinese food than imported wines? And do you think it's worth pairing European/New world wines with Chinese food? The restaurant we went to last night had a selection of Chilean wines with recommendations for their featured dishes - a Pinot Noir with a spicy claypot chicken, if I recall correctly, and a Chardonnay for a rice and pork dish with bitter melon. What's been your experience with this?

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rarely! but that didn't stop me from checking them out. oh yes i drank many a bottle of pseudo 'red wine' crisscrossing southern China 3 times in 3 consecutive years. the booze is even worse, which Chinese men prefer to drink with their meals.

i shrieked with delight as i reached Macau. vinhos portugueses every day! :D

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I wasn't that tempted, except for cooking wine! Thanks for this informative reply. I'll be in Shanghai in October, and I'll definitely check out your recommendations. I'll set up some delivery then. I'm not a serious wine drinker - I don't have a cellar or anything - but when I drink wine, I like to have a decent bottle.

There is a certain charm in some Asian wine - when I lived in Vietnam, we used to enjoy a bottle of Vang Da Lat when we had a nice Vietnamese meal. I'd never consider it in the same league as European wine, but it did complement the meal, which, at the end of the day is the goal, I suppose. By the same token, when I visited Beijing, oh-so-briefly a couple of years ago, we went for duck - of course! (Not at Quanjude :biggrin:) We had a local bottle then, too. I can't recall the name, but it was quite light, with a cherry taste that kind of reminded me of Beaujolais. It went well with the duck, and I was quite happy with it.

Do you think domestic wine pairs better with Chinese food than imported wines? And do you think it's worth pairing European/New world wines with Chinese food? The restaurant we went to last night had a selection of Chilean wines with recommendations for their featured dishes - a Pinot Noir with a spicy claypot chicken, if I recall correctly, and a Chardonnay for a rice and pork dish with bitter melon. What's been your experience with this?

Tell them I sent you! Discount time :-) actually, if you're in Shanghai anytime from the 7th to 11th, stop by Pudao wine shop - I'll be leading an advanced WSET wine course there :biggrin: Marcus (the manager) has set up tasting stations about the shop for the Decanter Award winning wines - come and taste them with us! :laugh:

I personally don't think that domestic wines pair better with Chinese food at all. To me, they generally pair best with very little - trouble is that they are, for the main, trying to make Bordeaux style wines in a climate that is NOT Bordeaux....yick!

Also, I must add that I think this local wine with local food idea is a load of bollocks put about by (mainly) the French ...I once had the horror of drinking young red bordeaux with raw oysters (in Chateau Lafite of all places) just cause 'they were both local' - well it was a pile of horsemanure, both in the mouth and in theory . :laugh:

Maybe because I'm a half breed myself, but I think that the best combinations are with the best of both worlds.

Last night we had a lovely off-dry New Zealand Pinot Gris with the leftovers from a trip to the Sichuan government canteen. The pickled pepper cuttlefish, huiguorou and huajiao noodles all went very well...or maybe I'm just greedy :raz:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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